Tag Archives: tiny house

Design Round 1: Tumbleweed Harbinger Plans

One of my former colleagues introduced me to Tumbleweed Tiny Houses a few years ago. Since then, I have thought they were just adorable and dreamed about living in one. So when H and I decided to embark on this little adventure, of course I started there.

I played with all of the Tumbleweed designs and really liked the Harbinger. I love the idea of having a loft in addition to a master bedroom as a guest space, hangout space, extra storage, etc.  On their website, they have the option to play around with furniture arrangements, but they don’t allow you to move walls, doors, etc. After playing on their website for awhile, I took it one step further and started from scratch on Floor Planner.

Without further ado, here’s a shot of my first round of design: The Harbinger Edited.

Floor Plan Harbinger

So what are you looking at?  Starting at the bottom, there’s a small porch, leading into the living room. On the front right corner is a built-in table nook which could be used as an eating, working or board game space. The kitchen is on the right side in the middle, and is open to the living room and nook. And that little black box on the right side? That would be the wood burner, with which we’d heat the entire place. Then there’s the small bathroom on the left, master bedroom in the back and mudroom with steps to the basement on the top right corner.

Rather than show you a plan of the loft (which wouldn’t look like much anyway), I’ll just tell you that the extra sleeping loft would start with the bathroom wall and go to the back of the house. It would have built-in cupboards in the eaves and a big mattress in the middle.

This plan has 475 square feet. After designing it, H saw a photo of a beautiful Southern-style house and said he’d rather built in that style, but tiny. So the Harbinger was a great start, but probably not the final direction we’ll go in. I’ll share the next designs soon, but I’m sure they’ll continue to change as we learn about tiny living and clarify what we really want and need.


Reasons Why

In my first post, I mentioned a reason for downsizing that stirred this idea about a week ago.  But this morning, before I fully awoke, I remembered an experience, a large experience, that has been percolating in the back of my subconscious for nearly a year telling me to minimize my possessions.

Last summer (July 2013), H and I rode our motorcycles to visit family in North Carolina. We had done a number of long-distance trips before on the bikes, but never this far on our own. We had gone to Iowa for a friend’s wedding (5 hours) for three days, so packing was easy. We had gone to Kansas City (15 hours) for four days, but we sent our belongings with the rest of my family in the van. Now we were embarking on a nine-day journey to ride over 2,000 miles with no van tagging along. We were staying with family, so we could do laundry, but we still had to pack light. One backpack each with saddlebags.

That was probably the best vacation I’ve ever taken. Being on our own motorcycles, we were together, but alone. There was no mindless chatter; only observations and mindful thinking. I believe the world could solve a lot of its problems if leaders spent more time alone with two wheels.

We had had such a simple, fun trip, free of all the normal complications that come with normal travel. I couldn’t buy a whole lot because of space constraints. We didn’t have luggage to deal with because of space constraints. We didn’t have computers with us and didn’t have smart phones at the time, so when we stayed in a cheap motel we watched one of the only four channels. It was so uncomplicated and refreshing.

It was hard to come home. I crunched numbers to see how long we could do this before we ran out of money. The answer was not long. But as I thought about it this morning, I think that was a major turning point in my psyche, realizing the freedom of only having a backpack of possessions. Of being able to go where we wanted to go without worrying about our “stuff”. The ironic part of this is that I lost my wallet on the drive home.

I’d have loved to include a picture from that trip, but we were so focused on having a good time that I didn’t take any pictures. Can you imagine, in today’s society where we document everything with an instagram, that I have no proof of this trip?  I’ll just have to feed your imaginations with a photo from our Cozumel trip when we rented a Harley (another great day).

Cleaning Out My Closet

After clearing out my nail polish, another easy place to start was my closet. I will openly admit that I love clothes. I do regularly get rid of things that I know I’ll never wear again, but I would definitely hang on to way more than I needed to.  Today’s rule was, “if I wouldn’t want to wear it today (or in six months when it’s cold), it’s going.” So a lot went. Three garbage-bags worth.

14 dresses, 7 skirts, 11 pairs of pants/shorts, 4 sweaters and 3 blazers:1

10 tops, 1 more skirt and 11 tees/tanks:2

 7 sweatshirts:


Makes for a lot of stuff!  My sister took about half of the clothes-the big gift bag and the small tote.


I can’t tell you how exciting it is to get rid of stuff!  You know that high you get when you buy something new?  It’s the same when you get rid of stuff, I swear. I neglected to take a picture of my half-empty closet, but looking at it makes me feel great.

I think next up, I will tackle my gowns. (Yes, I have gowns. In another life I was a professional musician)


Starting Small: Downsizing my Nail Polish.

H suggested this morning that we not buy anything that isn’t consumable for the next six months. I already unofficially decided that, hence only buying gifts when we were shopping in Madison yesterday. But not buying isn’t enough. We’re going to greatly need to reduce the amount of “stuff” we already own before we can downsize by 75%, and I figured it’d be easiest to do it little by little.

Speaking of little things, I thought I’d start small, literally. I had quite a lot of nail polish although I rarely paint my nails. Space will be so tight that only my favorites can stay. I originally thought I’d keep five max, but ended up keeping a few more. I suppose I can always really narrow it down in a few months, right?

I divided them by color to see what I really had.20140617-071034-25834904.jpg








That’s a lot of polish that I mostly never wear. I narrowed it down to my favorites and this is what I was left with.


Still a lot, but I figure I’ll edit more in the future.

I ended up giving away more than 40 polishes to my nieces. It was quite a happy day for them!